“Maddy, I have a question for you… Would you like to be the Lao Youth Leaders President?” When I first met Mr. Alan, I’m not going to lie, he was, let’s say an interesting character. Nonetheless, he definitely got me out of my comfort zone. Over the short time he has mentored me, I’ve never felt more like I belonged. His goofy personality and view on life has cultivated myself into a better person. When he first asked me to be the new Lao Youth Leaders President, I was ecstatic. I mean, I kept cool at first, obviously, but right after I remember being filled with so much happiness I just started laughing. Not crying happy tears like a regular person, but I laughed. Weird, right? The passion I possess for the Lao community is ridiculous, but the love I have for the Lao people is even more incredible. My goal for this year is to bridge the gap between all Lao people whether it be in America and in the country of Laos itself. This doesn’t necessarily mean I need a pen pal (which would be so awesome by the way,) but I want my fellow Lao Youth Leaders to truly know all aspects of the Lao culture. From its history to its geography, I want them to understand the blessed life we possess here. My next goal is that I want each and every one of them to reach their own personal goals. While LYL is such a huge part of our lives, I want them to look beyond that. I want them to be okay with coming to myself and others for advice and be okay with asking for help, but I also want them to learn it’s okay to rely on themselves. In a society which we live in now, there are many individuals out there to get us. There will always be someone who is xenophobic, discriminatory, or racist, but there will also always be someone who is caring, kind, and the most loving person. Being a person of color in a white, male dominated society should not be a disadvantage, but instead, motivation for each and every Lao individual that we CAN succeed. There are no boundaries besides the ones we set for ourselves. You CAN be the first Lao-American to graduate high school in your family. You CAN become a Lao-American artist whether or not your parents support your dream. You CAN become the first Lao-American politician— you CAN be anything. So, what’s stopping you? My answer was yes— yours could be too.